Lopez Leads SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series Out West for Round 2 in Utah

Apr. 28, 2011 – TOOELE, Utah – The 2011 SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series swings back into action this weekend for Round 2 of the nine-race season with the series’ second visit to Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, this time as the final event of the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix. The 100-mile (33-lap) race on the 3.048-mile, 15-turn “perimeter” layout is scheduled to take the green flag at 2:00 p.m. local time.

RJ Lopez (No. 6) leads the SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series into Round 2 of the 2011 season at Miller Motorsports Park this weekend. Credit: Mark Weber/SCCA

On the strength of a dominating victory last month in the 2011 season opener at Sebring International Raceway – where he started from pole and led every lap en route to the victory – RJ Lopez, of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, leads the championship standings heading to the Trans-Am Series’ most Westward stop of the season. Lopez will be looking to make it back-to-back victories in the No. 6 Disco 106/ECR Engines/Goodyear Chevrolet Corvette and extend his lead to start a busy month for the series with three races inside of four weeks. He finished third in last year’s race at Miller.

However, Lopez will have to overcome what will undoubtedly be a strong challenge from defending series champion Tony Ave, of Maiden, N.C., in the No. 4 Lamers Racing/McMahon Group/Optech/PME Engines Chevrolet Corvette. Ave scored his first career Trans-Am victory in last year’s maiden Trans-Am visit to Miller Motorsports Park on a different course layout that the one being used this weekend. That victory was the first of a series-leading six for Ave.

The third former Trans-Am race winner in this weekend’s field will be Cliff Ebben, of Appleton, Wis., in the No. 36 McMahon Group/Stumpf Ford/Lamers Racing Ford Mustang. Ebben earned his first career Trans-Am victory at Road America in 2009 and finished second in the 2011 season opener at Sebring. He will make his first Miller Motorsports Park appearance this weekend.

Another one to watch is 2011 Trans-Am rookie Carlos de Quesada, of Coral Gables, Fla., in the No. 22 Allegra Motorsports/Vitalz Jaguar XKR. De Quesada, a former Rolex 24 At Daytona class winner, had a podium run going in his Trans-Am debut at Sebring before a mechanical failure removed him from contention short of the checkered flag.

De Quesada is a likely candidate to take his first Trans-Am victory this weekend as is Doug Harrington, of Kemah, Texas, in the No. 00 Pinnacle Autosports/New Orleans Voo Doo Chevrolet Corvette. Harrington finished the 2010 Trans-Am season with back-to-back podium results, but transmission problems took him out early in the race at Sebring.

Trans-Am Series veteran Simon Gregg, of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., opened his 2011 campaign with a sixth-place performance at Sebring in his 89th career start. This weekend, Gregg will move into sole possession of 17th place on the all-time career Trans-Am starts list with his 90th career start. He finished fifth in his Miller debut last year.

Another driver with previous Trans-Am experience at Miller this weekend will be Kyle Kelley, of Huntington Beach, Calif. in the No. 3 UPRACING.com/APEX/Jamison Engineering Chevrolet Camaro. Kelley placed seventh in last year’s inaugural Trans-Am race in Utah.

This weekend’s field will include a total of six drivers making their first Trans-Am appearances at Miller Motorsports Park. Joining Harrington, de Quesada and Ebben will be Denny Lamers, of Appleton, Wis., in the No. 66 McMahon Group/Stumpf Ford/Lamers Racing Ford Mustang, David “D.J.” Jans in the No. 70 World Information Systems Ford Mustang and Doug Peterson, of Rochester Hills, Mich. in the No. 87 Jaguar XKR. In fact, it will be Peterson’s first-ever Trans-Am event.

The Trans-Am 2 (TA2) class, which made its debut as a points-paying class at Sebring, will feature Gregg Rodgers, of Southlake, Texas, in the No. 40 PinnacleAutosports.com/Eagles Canyon Raceway/Petfinder.com Chevrolet Camaro. Rodgers took the TA2 victory at Sebring.

The weekend schedule calls for a pair of 30-minute Trans-Am practice sessions on Friday beginning at 10:30 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. local (Mountain) time. Saturday’s lone on-track activity for Trans-Am will be qualifying from 8:00 to 8:30 a.m., but all Trans-Am drivers will participate in a driver autograph session from 10:30 to 11:00 a.m. on Saturday morning as well. Sunday’s race day schedule allows for a 20-minute warm up session beginning at 10:00 a.m. followed by the race at 2:00 p.m.

Live Timing & Scoring data from every session is available on the official website of the SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series, www.trans-amracing.com. Live updates from every session are also available on the official Trans-Am Series Facebook page at Facebook.com/TransAmRacing as well as on the official Trans-Am Twitter feed @TransAmSeries.

Event Entry List
#, Class, Driver, Hometown, Sponsors / Car
00, TA Doug Harrington (R), Kemah, Texas, Pinnacle Autosports/New Orleans Voo Doo Chevrolet Corvette
3, TA, Kyle Kelley, Huntington Beach, Calif., UPRACING.com/APEX/Jamison Engineering Chevrolet Camaro
4, TA, Tony Ave, Maiden, N.C., Lamers Racing/McMahon Group/Optech/PME Engines Chevrolet Corvette
6, TA, RJ Lopez, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Disco 106/ECR Engines/Goodyear Chevrolet Camaro
22, TA, Carlos de Quesada (R), Coral Gables, Fla., Allegra Motorsports/Vitalz Jaguar XKR
36, TA, Cliff Ebben, Appleton, Wis., McMahon Group/Stumpf Ford/Lamers Racing Ford Mustang
40, TA2, Gregg Rodgers (R), Southlake, Texas, PinnacleAutosports.com/Eagles Canyon Raceway/Petfinder.com Chevrolet Camaro
59, TA, Simon Gregg, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette
66, TA, Denny Lamers (R), Appleton, Wis., McMahon Group/Stumpf Ford/Lamers Racing Ford Mustang
70, TA, David Jans (R), Mundelein, Ill., World Information Systems Ford Mustang
87, TA, Doug Peterson (R), Rochester Hills, Mich., Jaguar XKR

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